How to Choose a Marathon Watch


In a society which often celebrates form over function, we are discovering that our customers need more. They require not only a watch they can enjoy looking at, but one that they can trust to perform day in and day out in all environments. A luxury watch one can strap on their wrist and wear without reservation or trepidation, without fear of damage, without conspicuousness.

Happily, the Marathon watch company, headquartered in Canada but manufactured entirely in Switzerland, can deliver on this brief. Marathon’s watchmakers have been faithfully supplying watches to the Allied Forces since 1941. So, it stands to reason that a product that has withstood over 75 years of military operation, is also good enough for mountain climbing, kayaking or walking the dog.

There are Marathon military watches for all purposes and budgets, so in aid of navigating the range, we have put together this handy buying guide to help you choose the perfect Marathon watch.



The General Purpose watch is, perhaps, Marathon’s most utilitarian; a compact and ergonomic timekeeper, tested to meet the exacting needs of on-land infantry. 

There are several different flavours of the General Purpose range. The first of which is forged from strong fibreshell and toughened acrylic crystal, which provides the foundation for the General Purpose Quartz with Maraglo, and General Purpose Quartz with Tritium.

This same 36mm fibreshell case is reinforced by a steel bezel and sapphire crystal for the General Purpose Mechanical model, which is powered by an excellent Japanese dual-winding mechanism.

Meanwhile, the General Purpose Stainless Steel models are slightly broader at 38mm in diameter; crafted from a beautiful bead-blasted 316L Surgical Grade Steel. The mechanical version originally launched as the ‘Benrus’ special edition, and features a manual-winding Swiss ETA 2801 movement which is unique amongst the Marathon range.



Marathon’s range of diving watches offer startling value for money and, by rule of thumb, come in both quartz and mechanical varieties, distributed among three different case sizes.

Deceptively, the ‘Medium’ is the smallest of the three sizes at 36mm, whilst the Marathon GSAR Automatic is perhaps the most sought after in the range at 41.5mm. Both offer water resistance to the depth of 300m, a superb Swiss automatic movement, and a precise ratcheted uni-directional bezel.

The JSAR ‘JDD’ takes this platform and elevates it to the jumbo size of 46mm, with a Bilingual Day-Date complication and slightly domed sapphire crystal, which increases legibility by minimising internal glare.

All Marathon quartz diving watches feature excellent high torque Swiss ETA F06 movements to ensure optimal timekeeping, and a useful end-of-life indicator to alert the wearer when a battery replacement is due imminently.



It was a request from Kelley Air Force Base in Texas which led to the creation of the Military Navigator watch. Pilots required a highly legible watch to use at high altitude, able to withstand vast changes in pressure.

Built to the strict specifications of MIL-PRF-46374G, the asymmetrical case of the Navigator is built from fibreshell and, like the General Purpose Range, comes in a variety of covert colours that suit casual outfits down on the ground; Black, Sage Green and Desert Tan.

Finally, Marathon’s commitment to functionality culminates in the CSAR Search and Rescue Pilot’s Chronograph. Handmade at their atelier in Chaux de Fonds, Switzerland, this watch is truly special. An automatic Valjoux 7750 calibre provides superlative timekeeping, whilst screw-down crown and pushers ensure the watch remains watertight and pressure resistant.


The ultimate test? I recently witnessed Jonathan accidentally dropping his CSAR onto a hard concrete floor. We both cringed, but aside from a few cosmetic scars, it didn’t skip a beat.

So, whether you are looking for the best tactical watch or just a high performing everyday wearer, we think you should look no further than Marathon. There really has been no better time to choose yours, than whilst we are continuing to celebrate Canada's 150th anniversary. 

Promotional code ‘CANADA150’ will grant you 15% off a Marathon timepiece.


Marathon Keywords

1. MaraGlo

Marathon’s proprietary photo-luminescent paint compound.

2. Tritium

A radioactive gas encapsulated in tubes which ensures continuous glow in low light conditions. Has a half-life of 15 years.

3. Fibreshell

Light and does not reflect the rays of the sun, making it a good choice for soldiers maintaining a low profile on the battlefield.

4. Quartz or Automatic?

A question often asked. Quartz is more accurate, however the benefit of going mechanical is longstanding as there are no batteries to replace.

5. Sterile / NGM

NGM means ‘No Government Markings’. The ‘Sterile’ dial is a more popular choice for civilians as there are no military logos or emblems on the dial.